We Are What We Are
On a normal, day-to-day basis, I am one who is entirely against movie remakes. The remake of Michael Haneke's "Funny Games" was uncalled for, the remake of "Let The Right One In", though it was decent, wasn't warranted, and the same can be said for the remake of "Black Christmas". As director Tomas Alfredson once put, ""Remakes should be made of movies that aren't very good, that gives you the chance to fix whatever has gone wrong." But, there are always a few exceptions to the rule, and 2013's "We Are What We Are" is part of that category. 

Directed by Jim Mickle, it is a remake of "Somos lo que hay" (translated into English as "We Are What We Are"), a 2010 Spanish film directed by Jorge Michel Grau. The history behind the American remake by Mickle is interesting, as Mickle originally did not want to do a remake of the film as he has spoke of his distaste for American remakes of foreign films in the past. However, after speaking and consulting with Grau he was convinced that he could take the film and create his own experience out of it. Mickle's version of the story is much less a remake, and more of a complete re-imagination using similar elements from Grau's original film. 

I will avoid spoiling the movie as the shock and twist of it all is part of the appeal of the film, and attempting to figure it all out is part of the fun. But, the film follows the Parker family attempting to keep family tradition alive after their mother passes, with the eldest daughter Iris being held responsible for keeping their customs rife. Of course, their traditions are very odd, and lead to many problems with the locals including Doctor Barrow and local law enforcement and recent deputy Anders. While all this is happening, both Iris and Rose, the daughters, question their father and their morals as they keep up with their culture.

While the first half of the film is rather slow and dull paced, it trades in action for atmosphere and character build up. The steady pace that Mickle ushered in allows tension to build, but also allows you to feel sympathetic for a family that just lost their mother. The depression that scorches Frank Parker (Bill Sage) eyes is that of sincere grief, but with that grief comes determination and fire to keep up all he has built. 

For such dark roles, both Julia Garner and Ambyr Childers, who play Rose and Iris respectively, perform with extreme maturity. I appreciated Mickle's careful approach with actor Jack Gore, who played Rory Parker in the film, the youngest of the Parker siblings. Mickle spoke with the boy's family and received their consent, however they stated it would be best if Gore only knew his parts, and not the others. Should you watch the film, you will come to understand why they have said this, and possibly appreciate the care Mickle went through before proceeding with the film. 

Now, once you discover what the family does, it sort of hits you in the face and can be nauseating. However, it is filmed so delicately, and the cinematography is absolutely astounding that I found myself hard pressed to even take my eyes off the screen. And, though the pacing of the film at first is slow, once it proceeds to unveil itself, the movie hardly ever backs down, constructing more and more tension before the climax. And, that conclusion is ever more shocking than all other events that preceded it, and the final moments of the film are ambiguous, leaving the audience to speculate on what the Parkers are going to do next. 

Director Jim Mickle has so far had no bad films in his filmography, with even his latest film "Cold In July" receiving positive reception. "We Are What We Are" is a bold remake that is exactly what a remake should be; it's not a copy cat product and nor does it really follow the same lines as the original, but rather scoops up influence from Grau's original piece, and possibly even outdoes it. 

A prequel and a sequel to the film have since been announced, and while that does excite me, I just don't think they will be able to hold the same magic as the original. But, here's hoping they won't just be cheap, direct-to-DVD cash-ins like those that have happened to so many other horror films. I'm hoping that a strong series of horror films will be able to rise out from this, because I know that that is more than possible. 
4
Brutal Resonance

We Are What We Are

7.5
"Good"
Genre: Horror
Director: Jim Mickle
Writer: Nick Damici, Jim Mickle
Star actors: Bill Sage, Julia Garner, Ambyr Childers, Michael Parks, Jack Gore
On a normal, day-to-day basis, I am one who is entirely against movie remakes. The remake of Michael Haneke's "Funny Games" was uncalled for, the remake of "Let The Right One In", though it was decent, wasn't warranted, and the same can be said for the remake of "Black Christmas". As director Tomas Alfredson once put, ""Remakes should be made of movies that aren't very good, that gives you the chance to fix whatever has gone wrong." But, there are always a few exceptions to the rule, and 2013's "We Are What We Are" is part of that category. 

Directed by Jim Mickle, it is a remake of "Somos lo que hay" (translated into English as "We Are What We Are"), a 2010 Spanish film directed by Jorge Michel Grau. The history behind the American remake by Mickle is interesting, as Mickle originally did not want to do a remake of the film as he has spoke of his distaste for American remakes of foreign films in the past. However, after speaking and consulting with Grau he was convinced that he could take the film and create his own experience out of it. Mickle's version of the story is much less a remake, and more of a complete re-imagination using similar elements from Grau's original film. 

I will avoid spoiling the movie as the shock and twist of it all is part of the appeal of the film, and attempting to figure it all out is part of the fun. But, the film follows the Parker family attempting to keep family tradition alive after their mother passes, with the eldest daughter Iris being held responsible for keeping their customs rife. Of course, their traditions are very odd, and lead to many problems with the locals including Doctor Barrow and local law enforcement and recent deputy Anders. While all this is happening, both Iris and Rose, the daughters, question their father and their morals as they keep up with their culture.

While the first half of the film is rather slow and dull paced, it trades in action for atmosphere and character build up. The steady pace that Mickle ushered in allows tension to build, but also allows you to feel sympathetic for a family that just lost their mother. The depression that scorches Frank Parker (Bill Sage) eyes is that of sincere grief, but with that grief comes determination and fire to keep up all he has built. 

For such dark roles, both Julia Garner and Ambyr Childers, who play Rose and Iris respectively, perform with extreme maturity. I appreciated Mickle's careful approach with actor Jack Gore, who played Rory Parker in the film, the youngest of the Parker siblings. Mickle spoke with the boy's family and received their consent, however they stated it would be best if Gore only knew his parts, and not the others. Should you watch the film, you will come to understand why they have said this, and possibly appreciate the care Mickle went through before proceeding with the film. 

Now, once you discover what the family does, it sort of hits you in the face and can be nauseating. However, it is filmed so delicately, and the cinematography is absolutely astounding that I found myself hard pressed to even take my eyes off the screen. And, though the pacing of the film at first is slow, once it proceeds to unveil itself, the movie hardly ever backs down, constructing more and more tension before the climax. And, that conclusion is ever more shocking than all other events that preceded it, and the final moments of the film are ambiguous, leaving the audience to speculate on what the Parkers are going to do next. 

Director Jim Mickle has so far had no bad films in his filmography, with even his latest film "Cold In July" receiving positive reception. "We Are What We Are" is a bold remake that is exactly what a remake should be; it's not a copy cat product and nor does it really follow the same lines as the original, but rather scoops up influence from Grau's original piece, and possibly even outdoes it. 

A prequel and a sequel to the film have since been announced, and while that does excite me, I just don't think they will be able to hold the same magic as the original. But, here's hoping they won't just be cheap, direct-to-DVD cash-ins like those that have happened to so many other horror films. I'm hoping that a strong series of horror films will be able to rise out from this, because I know that that is more than possible. 
Oct 01 2015

Steven Gullotta

info@brutalresonance.com
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.

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